Applying stages of a show to the development process?

Yesterday I returned from a conference called Shift Happens, which was about technological opportunities within the arts. John Spooner from Unlimited Theatre quoted Tassos Stevens in his presentation saying ‘A show begins when you first hear about it’, declaring that technology can be used to entice, engage and enhance the live experience, but not replace it. Tassos Stevens and Tim Jones, creative producers of Coney followed this presentation, and explained the three stages of an audiences experience of a production: advance (the stage generally inhabited by marketing), gathering (an audience coming together to experience something) and the tail (reviews,conversation and activity that happens afterwards).

I can clearly see those stages in putting on a show, but how could this relate to development? Would it work in describing the development of an idea – advance being the research and first draft, gathering being the point at which the work is first put on its feet, the tail being the rewrites and revisions in response to seeing the piece play out? Maybe we could glean something interesting by applying it to a model of writer development – advance including encouraging and inspiring people to write plays, gathering as the point where writers meet, share ideas and offer peer support, the tail being the stage where writers gain independence and autonomy.

What are your thoughts? Does this three-stage illustration hold any currency for writer development?

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2 responses to “Applying stages of a show to the development process?

  1. Brummieseagull

    The model does assume that there’s a central organisation/ company driving the process – will this continue to be the case in the shifting dynamics of development and collaboration?

    Not saying it won’t, just throwing it out that the traditional literary manager/dramaturg-led development process seems to be being challenged. What the alternative might be, I’m not sure.

    But coming back to the point, the model could apply here, but I’m not sure how useful it is to think in those terms, as there is little tangible output to work with in the first place. Unless you count the writer as product, which raises all kinds of different issues!

    But thinking along those lines, recent schemes such as Adopt a Playwright, actively encourages audiences to invest in the writer, and (in turn) the development process.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2009/may/04/adopt-playwright

    So the interest in the process has turned attention to the writer’s personal story, rather than the material they produce. You could argue that it hasn’t really changed from product to process. It’s just that the product is different.

  2. If ‘gathering’ can be defined as engagement by others in the creative idea ten I think this process tallies with the way I wish to use my blogsite (and in some respects this site). I post ideas, thoughts etc and hope the comments system elicits the ‘gathering’ engagement and I then disseminate the results, either as a script, a reading, performance etc. Again I use the blog technology as a way of ‘solidifying’ the results of the development process somehow.

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